“Admiral Inisen, Ambassador Tetzu, Speaker to Armies Maekun, General Pasen, thank you for your generous sharing of information against what looks like a possible foe for the Joint Nations of the Midworld sea.” Minis put the note in his hand down on the other papers and maps scattered across the table set up in the Scarlett Rosary room. “I now have Assembly permission to proceed as Arko’s commander even though we are not formally at war with anyone.”
“That’s about time,” Pasen rumbled from his seat near the fountain. “They’re lucky that we needed to get everyone together.”
“I can have the Fourth Wave quinqueremes out of Marsae by next eight-day,” Inisen said, and laid a gloved fingertip on one port, then moved along the coast to a second, much further west. “If you need us to put in at Tebrias,” he said. “We can do that. Or we could rendezvous with your forces at Marakun. It’s tiny but the port is deep enough for our Quties,” he said, using the Arkan marines affectionate term for the heavy war-ships.
“Marakun would be better,” the Srian ambassador, a warrior in his own right, loomed over Inisen who was Aitzas round. In the press of planning they’d found an unlikely friendship.
“And we can have a half-wing onboard,” Maekun put in. “As I understand it you might need a half-wing for an internal problem, Aan.”
“I may. With your permission, Speaker I’d like to place your people and the Admiral under command of the Srian Lioness. Though Tetzu I’d advise that you don’t over-ride the good Admiral on matters of marine warfare.”
“And I’d advise the Honorable YOUNG Imperator to teach his rejins to suck eggs.” The Ambassador smiled and the Admiral just shook his head.
“Of course.” Minis smiled and rubbed his eyes, tiredly. “Someday I’ll have to come down to Sria to hunt my own lion with you.”
“I’d be pleased to arrange that hunt, one day.”
Minis rose and nodded to them all. “General Pasen, please take over before I put my young foot firmly in my mouth again, would you? I have this other matter I need to see to.”
“Of course, Imperator.”
The passenger wing finished its final circuit over Arko, in a very precise pattern, Megan noted. Her young pilot also took care to respond to the signals flashing from the landing pad below. “We’re cleared to land,” Duru said. “Hold onto your eye pieces!” Her grab for the goggles on her face was already practiced as he flung them into a falcon dive for the landing pad and they set down lightly in the centre of the circle tiled into the roof. There were several springalds on the edges of the roof, as well as the rim above, and though they were conspicuously not armed she was certain they could be very quickly. I wouldn't bet a copper claw that they can be tilted to fire into the air, she thought.
“Korucai! That is being wonderful!” Megan bounced up from under the wing, pulling off her goggles and the tight leather cap that held her crown of salt and pepper braids against the tearing wind of flying. “Where to be learning this kind of flying?”
“Glad you liked the trip, Teik. I don’t know if there’s any schools in Brahvniki at all and there’s a few years before just any foreigner can learn, sorry.”
“Ah, well.” She surrepticiously shook her hands out, rolled her shoulders. “Stiff, I am.”
“It happens when you’re in the passenger sling. Good air to you!” The young Niah began rolling up his wing, as one of the servants approached, a young woman with her hair tied back smoothly from her face, wearing a simple blue livery, with a gold-slashed belt.
“Teik Fitlak?” She said in Enchian, though her tongue couldn’t quite manage the name. “I’m Borasa and my boss in room 305 assigned me to be your liason and assistant.”
“Nice. I like entering the Marble Palace this way. Though the Imperator’s lift is very nice, too.”
“Of course. Would you like some refreshment before your appointment with the Imperator?” She's good. Didn't even twitch when I mentioned that I knew about that private little access point. Nor when I implied that I'd been in it. Not even narrowing her eyes. Nice.
“With… yes. I’d like to be a little more presentable being,” she answered in tolerable fessas Arkan. “We flew straight from Brahvniki, three long days and were grounded early one evening.” Urgent, yes, she thought. If I’m jumping the queue to speak straight to He Who Shits Sunbeams.
Borasa nodded. “Duru is an excellent pilot. This way, please,” she said, equal to equal.